The 2023 Masters Olympia is set to return this year after a lengthy 11-year-long break on Aug. 25-27 at the Arena in Cluj Napoca, Romania. It will provide a platform for the older bodybuilding competitors to compete on stage. In a recent video uploaded on YouTube, Michelle Brent reflected on her 36-year-long career in bodybuilding ahead of her appearance at the 2023 Masters Olympia.
The Masters Olympia was first introduced in 1994 to allow the competitors of yesteryears among other older bodybuilding professionals to showcase their talents in front of fans. Bodybuilding veteran Robby Robinson emerged as the inaugural champion. The event continued annually till 2003 and returned for a single edition in 2012, where bodybuilding legend Dexter Jackson took home the top prize.
It is set to make a comeback this season. While many are excited about the show’s return, others are not on board with the decision. Renowned bodybuilding coach Milos Sarcev dismissed the possibility of his participation and pushed back against the competition due to concerns surrounding athletes’ health earlier this year.
On the other hand, Australian bodybuilder Lee Priest expressed his excitement at the event but ruled out his participation as well. Although Priest would’ve liked to sign up for the contest, his chest atrophy would keep him on the sidelines.
Victor Martinez indicated his interest in potentially competing at the show three months ago. However, he was still on the fence about throwing his name in the hat as he wanted to check whether the prize money would justify his efforts. The organizers announced the overall prize money at $229,000 for all the divisions at the 2023 Masters Olympia weeks later.
Being the last winner, there was a lot of speculation about whether Dexter Jackson would join the roster. He added fuel to the fire with an insane workout update showing off his huge biceps two months ago. Along with Jackson, iconic bodybuilder Jay Cutler generated a lot of buzz for potentially returning to competition. Coach Chris Aceto argued against the return of the four-time Mr. Olympia and the show itself last month.
Japanese 212 and Open competitor Hidetada Yamagishi declared his comeback to competition for the 2023 Masters Olympia weeks ago. He would take to the stage at the age of 50 with the belief he could win one final title. Last month, he left the fans stunned with a ripped physique update 18 weeks out of the event.
Cutler and IFBB head judge Steve Weinberger revealed the full roster for each of the 10 divisions of the show two weeks ago.
65-YO Bodybuilder Reflects on 36-Year Long Career Ahead of 2023 Masters Olympia
In a recent YouTube video, Michelle Brent opened up about her nearly four-decade-long career going into the 2023 Masters Olympia at the age of 65.
“This is actually into my 36th year,” said Brent. “In 1985 I did an unsanctioned NPC show so technically I started in 1986 when I won the San Jose Super Bowl. It was Paul Love the promoter back then. Technically it would really be 37 but it would really be 38 if you count 1985.”
“I was always an athlete, did every sport. In 1985, I joined a gym and then my first husband had noticed me. There was a couple that used to come at the time and it was when the couples were popular. They noticed me and said hey you could get into bodybuilding, do shows, these things. I tried for three weeks and it was my start.”
Brent discussed how she manages to compete into her mid-60s along with how dancing helped refine her posing skills.
“Finally my little dream will come true. 25 years it took me to turn Pro. Crazy with only three years off in that 25 to get it. I get seconds, thirds, so I went to the Universe. I trained smart, never trained beyond getting a tweak or twinge. I never would go do 10 more reps or whatever. Literally never injured myself in the gym, nutrition wise always been pretty good. I didn’t get too crazy in the off-season, ate good, never had metabolic damage. I’ve just been very blessed.”
“I love to dance. If I didn’t discover bodybuilding I always wanted to be one of those troop dancers like a background, the whole learning, the steps, and all that but so I just love to dance. Ironically the first show in 1985, they had said you get this one minute to do whatever you want but you have to put some poses in bodybuilding poses really. I had the best time ever. It was like I found my niche. I know well I could be muscular and work out but yeah that could be entertaining and do what I love to do ‘part dance.’”
She’s targeting her first trophy at the 2023 Masters Olympia and revealed it would mark her last year in competition.
“I knew it was in the works, it wasn’t just a rumor. I knew Jake had wanted to get the Masters. But I never thought there was going to be some point there was going to be a championship for our Masters. All these people are able to turn pro now. Jake Wood came up with bringing back the Masters National Olympia but let’s make it all the divisions. Let’s make it legit, not just the men. I just kept on hanging in there hoping that at some point I was going to be able to end my career with at least one championship under my belt.”
“I truly have to admit that this is thank the Lord that I got this because I really truly believe this is my last year because I do have a little bit of just old age. I’d say old age but wear and tear, things my wrist is really bothering me, my hip joints so it’s starting to tell me and I’m smart.”
Brent called for a change in the qualification criteria of the contest.
“I think they need to at least bring it back to say 45 and then in the qualification if they do a qualifying thing at the show. This is my criteria. They always do something when you scratch your head. It needs to be 45 and over division is the only division you could get that qualification. If there’s an over 50 and 60, fine and dandy but you just get prize money but that 45 and over is the only class. If I want to take the chance I would add 65 go into that 45 and over to get the qualification for 2024 and no crossovers because there’s so many. It doesn’t make it legit. You have to pick your division because if you want to do a crossover fine but that division doesn’t get a qualification that’s how I see it clear and cut for qualifiers.”
Lee Priest voiced a similar sentiment as Brent in urging the organizers to bump up the minimum age for qualifying to 50 and above last month.
IFBB Pro League athletes’ representative Bob Cicherillo believes all eyes would be on former 212 Olympia champ Kamal Elgargni as he enters as the betting favorite to win the 2023 Masters Olympia later this year.